Genetic variation in thyroid folliculogenesis influences susceptibility to hypothyroidism-induced hearing impairment.

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Mamm Genome 2019 Feb; 30(1-2):5-22






Maternal and fetal sources of thyroid hormone are important for the development of many organ systems. Thyroid hormone deficiency causes variable intellectual disability and hearing impairment in mouse and man, but the basis for this variation is not clear. To explore this variation, we studied two thyroid hormone-deficient mouse mutants with mutations in pituitary-specific transcription factors, POU1F1 and PROP1, that render them unable to produce thyroid stimulating hormone. DW/J-Pou1f1dw/dw mice have profound deafness and both neurosensory and conductive hearing impairment, while DF/B-Prop1df/df mice have modest elevations in hearing thresholds consistent with developmental delay, eventually achieving normal hearing ability. The thyroid glands of Pou1f1 mutants are more severely affected than those of Prop1df/df mice, and they produce less thyroglobulin during the neonatal period critical for establishing hearing. We previously crossed DW/J-Pou1f1dw/+ and Cast/Ei mice and mapped a major locus on Chromosome 2 that protects against hypothyroidism-induced hearing impairment in Pou1f1dw/dw mice: modifier of dw hearing (Mdwh). Here we refine the location of Mdwh by genotyping 196 animals with 876 informative SNPs, and we conduct novel mapping with a DW/J-Pou1f1dw/+ and 129/P2 cross that reveals 129/P2 mice also have a protective Mdwh locus. Using DNA sequencing of DW/J and DF/B strains, we determined that the genes important for thyroid gland function within Mdwh vary in amino acid sequence between strains that are susceptible or resistant to hypothyroidism-induced hearing impairment. These results suggest that the variable effects of congenital hypothyroidism on the development of hearing ability are attributable to genetic variation in postnatal thyroid gland folliculogenesis and function.